How can you get food vouchers for the school holidays?
There are still over two weeks left of the school summer holidays, and children everywhere are still basking in the thrill of time off school. But it can be difficult during the school breaks for those who claim free school meals during term time.
Feeding children when they are away from being able to get free school meals daily can place strain on the wallets of parents everywhere, as well as bringing a new stress to them daily. If you are on Universal Credit and claim free school meals for your children during term time, don’t panic. You can get help during the school holidays, too!
You can get vouchers to use at the supermarket, equivalent to what your child receives at school. Parents can usually claim up to £90 per child during the summer holidays. This is equivalent to £15 per child per week of the six-week break. However, keep in mind that this may differ depending on the area you live in.
If you didn’t realise this until now – don’t fear! You can still claim until 31st August 2022. That is still two weeks of food vouchers. Every penny helps, and this is an amazing scheme to save you money on food.
The availability of vouchers and their value also vary depending on your local authority and between schools. These measures were introduced in 2020 during the covid-19 lockdown, with footballer Marcus Rashford campaigning for the scheme to remain in place well after the lockdown had come to an end.
Who is eligible?
For your child to be eligible for free school meals during term-time and to receive free school meal vouchers during the school holidays, parents must claim certain benefits. These benefits include:
- Income support
- Universal credit
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
How to apply
If your child receives free school meals during term-time, you are automatically eligible for these vouchers. If your child does not receive free school meals but you believe you are entitled to them, you can also apply for these vouchers through your child’s school or through the government or local authority website.
There are also websites such as Citizen’s Advice who can talk you through the process and help you with your application.
Where can the vouchers be used?
These vouchers can be used at many large supermarket chains across the UK. These chains are:
- M&S Food
This means you can shop at the supermarket most convenient to you. Vouchers can be spent in store, and some of the supermarkets accept them online also. If you need to get your groceries delivered due to transport or geographical restrictions, or for ease, double check which supermarkets accept the vouchers online beforehand.
You can also use the vouchers at different shops. You can spend some of the voucher at one store and some at another, mixing where you shop. Vouchers should be spent on food and other essentials.